What a week it’s been! My Thanksgiving was definitely better than last year. For all of you facing your “firsts” this year, I want to tell you that at least one person has found the “seconds” to be easier. They aren’t without sadness, but they’ve felt a little better. There’s grief, but it so far hasn’t been as all encompassing as year one.
This year, like last year, we traveled to Kentucky to spend Thanksgiving with my brother and his family. My sister and her family (and B!) drove down from Chicago, so I was with my brother, my sister, their spouses and children, and all THREE of my kids. We celebrated Christmas as well. Christhankmas is what I’ve coined it. I wanted to cancel the trip hundreds of times because I’m a total anxious homebody, and also because TEN HOURS IN THE VAN is not enjoyable. Like, at all. But, I knew it would be worth it, and it was. Not only did I catch up on dozens and dozens of podcasts, but I also was met with so much love and happiness when I arrived at each stop.
I stopped halfway there to visit my inlaws. Although the visit was shorter than it should’ve been, it was wonderful to see them. They love my kids so much. They enjoy hearing about their activities, marveling at how much they’ve grown, and spoiling them with all sorts of things like special rides in Grandpa’s truck, a gigantic bag full of Rice Krispy treats for the road, etc.
The next day we were back on the road for Kentucky. I love Kentucky. Well, Lexington, anyway. It’s beautiful there. Miles and miles of black horse fencing, magnificent horse farms, rolling hills, well manicured black tobacco barns, stately homes, a moderate climate, and most importantly….FAMILY.
It felt so great to be surrounded by family. It felt secure, comforting, and joyful. It felt like HOME. My brother and sister are my best friends, and my sister-in-law feels like my very own sister and friend. I don’t like being far away from them. And my nephews! Oh my gosh, I love them so much!
Every time I visit Kentucky I spend time on realty websites looking for houses. Last year it was mostly just for fun, but this year it felt different. I really would move there if it felt possible. But the work involved with getting a house ready to sell! The purge that would need to happen would be of epic proportions. And then there’s the smaller but numerous details like switching banks, insurance, doctors…all the things! Plus I’ve never sold or bought a house by myself. I give up on the idea just thinking about it.
But then, when we arrived back home after the VERY long drive back, it didn’t feel like “Home Sweet Home.” It felt like I’d left my “home” behind. The feeling of being surrounded by people who love us and would be there for us if we needed them wasn’t here. For the first time, here felt emptier.
What I wouldn’t give to easily be able to go to my nephews’ ball games, music concerts, etc. What I wouldn’t give to be able to watch them so my brother and his wife could have a date night! I think about how wonderful it would be for cousins to grow up near each other. And also to be on the flip side of all of that would be amazing too. To have people around to support my kids and me!
I suppose it isn’t fair to put that kind of thing on my family. This is MY situation to figure out, not theirs to fix. But it really would feel safe to have the love of family around. Plus, I know the words to “My Ole Kentucky Home,” I love monogrammed things, UK basketball, big hair and the beauty and thrill of a thoroughbred horse race. I’d fit right in! What do all y’all think? See? I can do it!
I don’t know what the future holds for me. I don’t know if I’ll stay here, move to Kentucky, or move somewhere else. I’m trusting that I’ll know what to do when the time is right. In the meantime, there’s a wedding anniversary and Christmas to tackle.
I’m praying these special dates are better in year two, just like Thanksgiving and my birthday proved to be. It’s still hard, just different. I’m hoping it’s easier, although it’s still not what it should be, because it’s not what it was. But I’m committed to staying in the race.
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. – Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message)
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40;31 (NIV)
I know some of you have moved. You’ve figured out how to leave the home you shared with your loved one. How did you do it? When did you do it? Did you just KNOW when the time was right? Or have you stayed put? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment – let me know how you’ve dealt with these feelings and decisions.